FotoMagico for iPad review: Create stunning animated slideshows on the go
Turn static photos and videos into compelling visual presentations with this iPad app.
By J.R. Bookwalter
At a Glance
Fast, easy, full-featured slideshow creation
Includes more than 60 royalty-free music tracks, 15 photo effects
Project files interchangeable with FotoMagic for Mac
Media browser sluggish when accessing large photo, music libraries
=Applied effects aren’t currently displayed in Mac version
Sluggish search results in music browser
No timeline view
Popular full-featured macOS slideshow creation app FotoMagico makes the leap to iPad, allowing tablet owners to easily turn static photos and videos into compelling visual presentations from almost anywhere, complete with slick transitions, titles, music, and effects.
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If you want to breathe new life into static photos with minimal effort, there’s no better method than
FotoMagico 5 for macOS, which we hailed as “more impressive than pulling rabbits out of a magic hat” in our May, 2016 review. For nearly 15 years, this slideshow creation software has been the go-to solution for casual shutterbugs and professional photographers alike.
Fortunately, FotoMagico is now available for iPad, providing a way to assemble great slideshows from anywhere. Best of all, Mac project files are interchangeable with the iPad version, so you can start a project on one device and finish on another.
The iPad app is a faithful transition, offering the same intuitive Storyboard layout for building slideshows via drag and drop with multiple layers, adjusting start and finish animation, adding titles, music, voiceovers, and more with ease. Text snippets come along for the ride, so you can quickly add frequently-used elements while retaining full control over editing individual components.
Like on macOS, FotoMagico for iPad requires no time-intensive rendering to preview slideshows in full quality, even when starting in the middle. Taking advantage of Apple’s Metal graphics API, the app provided fluid, real-time playback even on our venerable first-generation iPad Pro.
The only issues came up when importing images, video, or audio from large libraries. It took upwards of 15 seconds to initially access the media browser, with photos under the Recently Added category appearing out of chronological order and no way to sort them for easier access. The situation improves marginally with audio, but the search field is glacially slow to respond, and cloud-based tracks are inaccessible until first downloaded from the Music app. (DRM-protected Apple Music tracks can’t be used at all, a limitation also imposed on Mac.)
Pay to play
Although the app lacks a timeline view to shorten or extend slides, as in FotoMagico Pro on macOS, the iPad version does include Audio Marker Assistant, which automatically syncs the duration of slides to the beat of imported songs or manually added audio markers. This works great with included royalty-free music—more than 60 tracks across seven moods—but you’ll need to enter the BPM (beats per minute) for imported tunes that lack the proper metadata.
The iPad version also introduces 15 effects, which can be applied to photos and videos to change their appearance. Ranging from color correction to comic book and film grain, masks, borders, and vignettes, effects are a neat way to spruce up any slideshow, although we’d love to see Instagram-style filters added in a future update. (Effects are the one thing that don’t currently work on Mac.)
FotoMagico for iPad is free for 14 days, requiring a subscription to edit slideshows beyond the trial period. That’s not as limiting as it sounds, because $5 unlocks all features for an entire month, with discounted three-month ($14), six-month ($23), or 12-month ($40) options for those who need them. There’s no one-time purchase, nor free/discounted access for Mac users, but you can open and play existing projects without subscription, so the pricing is fair for those with occasional needs.
A longtime Mac favorite successfully transitions to iPad, although importing media from large libraries could use more work.